One of the most serious offences under the Highway Traffic Act is driving while suspended. If your driver’s licence was suspended and you were caught driving, the consequences can be tough. Apart from costly fines and further suspension of your licence, your insurance rates will go way up. Worst of all, you could go to jail for six months or more.
In this blog post, you’ll find out some of the main reasons why drivers get their licences suspended, what are the consequences of getting a drive suspended charge, the possible penalties you could face and if you should fight it or not.
Driver’s Licence Suspension
Getting your licence suspended can happen for a number of reasons. For the most part, drivers lose their right to drive because of demerit points accumulation, unpaid fines for driving offences, or criminal driving offence convictions.
In situations involving alcohol or drugs, you can get your licence suspended by refusing to take any of the impairment tests. If you do take the test and reach just the “warn range” of alcohol, your licence could be immediately suspended.
Another common reason for licence suspensions is the result of driving offence convictions. For instance, if you are convicted of impaired driving, dangerous driving or other serious offences, your driver’s licence could be suspended for one year or more. If you are charged and found guilty of a criminal offence, you could lose your licence for three years, minimum.
Other serious offences can cause you to lose your licence forever, which means you won’t be able to drive again in your lifetime. If you get caught driving while disqualified in this situation, the penalties could be extreme.
Can you drive while suspended?
The short answer is, no. Driving while suspended is a federal offence under the Criminal Code and a provincial one under the Highway Traffic Act. The consequences of driving suspended can be severe, and, in fact, it’s one of the most serious offences under the Highway Traffic Act.
Highway Traffic Act 53.1 – Driving while suspended
In Ontario, driving while suspended is a serious offence and can lead to huge fines and jail time. Under the Highway Traffic Act 53, anyone who drives a motor vehicle on a highway without a qualified licence is guilty of an offence and can be convicted.
Drive suspended ticket – Penalties
The penalties for driving with a suspended licence depend on the offence and conviction. They may also vary based on the reason you got a disqualified licence in the first place.
Highway Traffic Act offences:
For a first-time conviction under the Highway Traffic Act, the driver could get a fine of $1,000 up to $5,000. Most importantly, the driver could face up to six months in jail. If it’s a subsequent offence of that nature, the outcome can be harsh.
A subsequent offence means the driver has been convicted of the same infraction within the last five years. If you’re charged with a subsequent offence, you could get more expensive fines, ranging from $2,000 to $5,000, jail time for up to six months and your licence would remain suspended for another six months.
If your license was suspended due to a criminal code charge, the Highway Traffic Act penalties are much more drastic.
For a first offence, the fines range between $5,000 and $25,000. Second offences and subsequent ones could lead up to $50,000, two years in prison and 3-year licence suspension under the Criminal Code.
Criminal Code offences:
If you’re convicted of a drive suspended charge under the criminal code, you could be looking at a maximum of five years in jail, apart from fines and other consequences.
Keep in mind, if you get in an accident while driving suspended, the insurance company might not cover the damage, and you could even be sued.
Drive Suspended charge – Insurance impact
As with most traffic-related convictions, insurance companies will raise their rates when you renew your policy. Any charges or demerit points you get increases the risk you represent to the insurer; therefore they increase their prices.
Since a drive suspended charge is severe, so can be its consequences when it comes to insurance. Not only can the insurance company increase its rates, but it can also deny coverage in case an accident led the conviction, and they can still refuse to renew your insurance.
Driving under suspension – Fighting Charges
Traffic tickets aren’t set in stone. Most of the time, there’s a chance of winning when you fight a traffic ticket. Some tickets might not seem significant enough to be worth the fight, but even the smallest of penalties can eventually add up to something big, like getting your licence suspended.
When it comes to charges with such severe consequences, like driving while suspended, it’s crucial to try and fight for your pockets’ and life’s sake. After all, the possibility of going to jail shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Fighting a drive suspended charge gives you a chance of getting the charges dismissed, reduced or, at least, facing the less significant consequences.
It’s crucial to have a proper defense strategy in place to make sure you have a fighting chance to save your driver’s licence and avoid jail time. It’s highly recommended to have legal representation in court since they can help you with the arguments you’ll need to solidify your case.
Drive Suspended Charge – What to do next?
When you get charged with driving while suspended, the first step is to assess your current situation. Ask yourself what will be the consequences if you’re convicted? Is there a way to minimize them or get the charges dropped?
Regardless of your situation, getting legal advice can help you make the best decision for yourself. If you are unsure whether you can fight your drive suspended charge, contact our agents. It’s free. They can offer you advice based on your circumstances, and then you can decide what’s your next step.